Area school districts aren’t the only ones seeing new faces this school year. In recent months Northeastern Junior College has welcomed several new instructors.
Kelsey Dillenger is a new nursing instructor. Born and raised in Sterling, she started her love and interest in the nursing field when she was in high school and was able to take MedPrep at NJC, which introduced her to the nursing field.
Right after high school, Dillenger enrolled at NJC and completed the LPN program, and later came back and completed the RN program. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is currently working on a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in nursing education.
“I decided to come to NJC so that I could give back to the community that gave me so much, and so that I could help support the future nurses of the community,” Dillenger said. “I have a non-traditional nursing background and I hope that students will be able to see there are many opportunities in the field of nursing and find that spark where they fall in love with their career.”
Sharon White is a new renewable energy instruction. Originally from the Denver area, she moved to Sterling 17 years ago and has been working in wind for a little over 15 years. She started in wind construction and moved to wind services, where she became a traveling technician. White has worked in an array of places, wind farms from North Dakota to Texas and California to Illinois and everything in between.
“I got into teaching because being a senior level technician and lead in the field I have always been in a position to teach. I have always been passionate about the work so I decided to come to NJC because I am a wealth of knowledge and thought it would be awesome to pass that knowledge along to a new generation of wind technicians,” she said.
White got into the wind field as a result of knowing someone who worked in the industry.
“Having no prior knowledge I have learned some hard lessons. So with taking this position, I am passing along information I wish I had when I started so many years ago,” she said.
In taking the position at NJC, she has learned that she truly does love to teach.
“It has been awesome so far and I am excited to teach many classes to come,” White said.
Jason Winter is a new industrial automation instruction. He was raised on a farm/ranch south of Sterling and went to school in Akron.
After graduating high school, he took a summer class at NJC to get some welding certificates to hopefully find a job as a welder to put himself through college. In the fall of 2000, he started attended Chadron State College and graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management, with minors in drafting, construction and mining.
“I knew NJC is an exceptional and unique school and I’m very passionate about giving to students that may not find a four-year degree a good fit for them,” White said when asked why he wanted to teach at NJC. “I believe strongly in the need for more tech and trade programs to fill the ever-growing amount of jobs in those fields.”
For many years he has been involved in on-the-job training for employees that he has had and always enjoyed doing that, but it wasn’t until recently that he realized how passionate he is about teaching.
“I never really thought about training others as teaching, but I finally realized that what I have enjoyed most about past employment I have had is passing knowledge on to others so that they are able to be successful in their own lives,” White said.
He encourages anyone looking for a career change, no matter your age or background, to come visit NJC “and see how we could get you a career path that can change your life.”
Duane Duncan is a new automotive and diesel instructor. He lives in Big Springs, Neb., with his wife, Sarah, and three daughters, Luca, Monroe, and Nora.
Duncan has a diesel degree from North Central Kansas Technical College, in Beloit Kan., and has worked in the industry for 25 years with experience in heavy equipment, agriculture, trucks, and natural gas compressor engines.
“The types of equipment I have worked on has a wide variety. Some of my experience includes working with factory engineers setting up, diagnosing, and adjusting New Model Prototype application equipment and automated guidance systems,” he said. “I have also trained /taught equipment operators and experienced technicians in the diagnosis and repairs of these machines. That was a very rewarding experience.”
Duncan decided to come to NJC to teach for several reasons. One is that he is really impressed with the college’s program, not only the faculty but mostly because of the faculty and their love of what they do.
“I decided to become a teacher so I could pass along my knowledge to the future generation, create a spark in the students to become the best they can be, and really get into pursuing their careers. I have been here for two months now and I really love what I do,” he said.
When not working, Duncan enjoys spending time with his family outdoors and traveling to explore and love the world we live in.
Amanda Morgan is a versatility ranch horse and horse judging coach. Her journey to being faculty at NJC is a long story. She was an Army brat who was born in Germany, then lived in Hawaii for some time but she and her family have always been Colorado natives and country folk, so they returned to live in Kiowa.
Morgan studied equine science and agricultural business at NJC and then went on to Colorado State University. She has put those skills to use as she and her husband, Nick Morgan, along with eight-year-old daughter Paisley and five-year-old son Baelor, farm in Crook.
Morgan has actually been an equine instructor for 11 years now and coached the versatility ranch horse team for five years. But, in the past, she was considered an APT (administrative, professional technical) employee. This year she is excited to finally be a faculty member.
“I have always loved NJC. When we came to an NJC Discovery Day I told my mom ‘I want to work one day.” That was in 2007. Now I am here and I love my job,” she said.
Other new faces at NJC include Lindsay McPeake, ag instructor who actually started last fall; Christine Bolton, nursing life skills coach/clinical instructor; and Liz Thompson, CNA coordinator.
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